Written by: Eric Stephenson
Art by: Simone Gane
Coming from Eric Stephenson of Nowhere Men fame and rising star Simone Gane is They’re Not Like Us, a book that feels like what would happen if you crossed The Matrix with X-Men. The first issue of the series is a very interesting debut that managed to completely grab my attention and has me invested in this series for the long haul.
While I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, I will say it completely surprised me and caught me off guard. What initially felt like an angst ridden version of the typical regular-person-with-powers story quickly evolved into something pretty unpredictable that really had me turning the pages as I wanted to discover my about the story.
Our protagonist is known to us as Syd, a young woman full of angst who seems to have been plagued by voices he whole life. After a shocking turn of events, she winds up being taken in by two mysterious men who bring her to a secure location containing other people with powers just like her. You may feel this is pretty predictable so far and find yourself being turned off, but I assure you, nothing in this book is as straightforward as it seems. There are twists and turns within the book, some of which are only vaguely hinted at, but by the end, I was hooked.
A great thing about this introductory issue is that it manages to avoid feeling like a standard introduction and instead grabs you with a fast moving and intriguing story that keeps you on your toes without being too opaque or confusing. The issue throws a lot at you and doesn’t spell everything out right away, but manages to hold your attention as it strikes the perfect balance between suspenseful reveals and fast paced action.
The book moves a little bit more into exposition territory towards the second half, but it never feels dull or as if you’re reading through an information dump; it’s all parcelled out well, keeping you involved in the story and helping you digest all the relevant information and making it feel interesting to read and leaves you eager to learn more about the interesting cast of characters. What also keeps the reader invested in the second half is the subtle hints of some darker content to come in later issues. It’s very vague, apart from the last minute gut-punch of an ending, but it’s enough to leave me incredibly eager to read the upcoming issues.
My only real complaint with the story is that it’s a little light on the character development side. While I understand that it’s very early days yet, we get introduced to a very large cast of characters yet learn very little about them outside of their powers. As I’ve stated I’m intrigued to see how things develop as the series progresses, but after reading this issue I struggled to even remember the names of the main characters, so hopefully this can be expanded upon in later issues.
The art by Simone Gane is very strong and is the perfect fit for the story, enhancing many parts of the narrative with some clever techniques which I won’t spoil, but which were very dramatic and impactful. Even without the story, the art would look absolutely gorgeous, the environments in particular look varied and grand and are a treat to pour over and soak in the atmosphere. The colours from Jordie Bellaire really help sell the atmosphere of these locals and keep the book looking varied and fresh. To top it off, the book’s design from Fonografiks is an excellent example of his “less is more” approach to design, ensuring that this book looks top notch in every regard.
Overall, this is a very strong start to a series that has managed to grab my attention in a really short space of time. After just one issue I’m ready to dive into this series for the full ride and suggest that you all do the same. This is one that should be added to your pull-list without question.